AUM in Action

Investor Network Deepens NGO Ties

European investor network Shareholders for Change has increased its collaboration with NGOs to bolster efforts to engage with corporates and financial institutions on ESG factors. According to its recently released 2023 report, the group engaged with 128 firms last year, largely on climate and environmental issues (33%), ESG policy (22%), and human and workers’ rights (19%). Shareholders for Change President Ugo Biggeri said the network had strengthened its links with NGOs, noting their role in flagging risks and controversies to investors. This included cooperating with UK NGO ShareAction on European chemicals firms’ decarbonisation targets, and supporting local Spanish organisations in their engagement with energy utility Endesa on power outages. “It is crucial for us to establish contacts and relationships with a large number of NGOs, not least because today’s ESG research and databases – on which sustainable investments are based – are primarily provided by mainstream companies,” said Biggeri. Engagement activity by network members Bank für Kirche und Caritas and Fondazione Finanza Etica with German defence systems manufacturer Rheinmetall was supported by Italian pacifist organisations and German organisations such as Greenpeace Germany and Urgewald. Meanwhile, Swiss member Ethos’ engagement initiative with technology companies was developed in partnership with Know the Chain, formed by philanthropic organisation Humanity United, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, Sustainalytics, and Vérité. Shareholders for Change currently counts 17 members, collectively responsible for €35 billion in assets under management.

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